Archive for February, 2012

Unexpected Blessings

Written by Ash on . Posted in News

Hearing someone tell you that you have Caner isn’t good news.  It sucks, its a diagnosis, but it isn’t the end of your life either unless….YOU choose to stop living it.  I’ve tried to find the humor and goodness in this minor problem that I have and that is what gets me through each day.  You’ve read that Chad calls me “Sunshine”, well each day it’s like searching the storm clouds for that rainbow when the sun comes out again.  Even in the midst of the storm I’m in right now, there are more than an abundant amount of blessings to be found.  We’ve had blessings poured around us for nearly two months and it’s been surreal.

Today is my second treatment out of eight.  Most people dread going to Chemotherapy, some can’t even drive by the hospital on their off days.  I, however strange it may seem, actually look forward to chemo.  This particular morning was filled with doctor’s visits and lab work that all had to be completed before I could get the chemo.  Most everybody I came in contact with were shocked to see that I still had my hair with the heavy regime they have me on.   I would smile and simply say that this would be one of many times they would see this chickadee defy the odds.  I pretty much have no place to go but up.  I told them once and I will keep telling them every time I see them that Mr. or Mrs. C has messed with the wrong gal.

My labs looked rather divine as well.  Doctor R. said if someone where to look at my labs, nobody would be able to tell that I was sick or currently on chemotherapy.  The labs show that I am a healthy girl with the exception of one simple lab….the CEA, which is the cancer marker.  My immune system was at a 5.9 before I began treatment and after chemo, it was a 6.4!!!!  What in the world….my immune system is healthier after chemo than before??  Now that’s some crazy stuff.  Part of that we know is due to the shot I have to go back in the day after chemo to get, but I would like to say the other 90% is as a result of myself and all of you who are praying for me daily.  We do know all of those levels will slowly change with time and each beating my body takes, but my doctor was very excited at how well I did through the first treatment and the simple fact that we didn’t need to change anything.  We were going to move ahead full steam and continue attaching the evilness that invaded my body without permission.   We discussed the Avastin drug as well since we received the second denial from my insurance company denying coverage.  Doctor R. flat out said he wasn’t sure if the hospital would be allow him to give it to me or not because of the cost and the fact that they up-fronted the cost for the first dose two weeks ago hoping to get reimbursed from my insurance.  I was thinking, are you serious????  You may not give me something you said I need to  beat this cancer?   I had tears in my eyes as I said to him…….YOU need to give this drug to me, I NEED to have it.  If this hospital wants me to write out a check for this drug right now, then I was prepared and willing to do it.  It’s not everyday (or any day)that I can say, here….let me write you an $11,000 check.  But you know why I was prepared to do that, right??  It’s because of all of you out there, my friends and family who have been so selfishly working hard on fundraising for me.  It felt so good to say, give it to me, WE can pay.  I say we because it is because of you (my readers) all that I was in a position to tell the doc give it to me.

After seeing my oncologist, Dr. R, it was then time for me to get the good stuff, the stuff that’s going to save my life.   This has become my quiet time to spend with this F.I.N.E. lookin’ fella.

Our lives were crazy busy before my diagnosis and sometimes I think it’s even more busy now.  The treatment room is now a place to come where I find some sort of peace.  There are no signs of the crazy world thats just outside the walls.  Chad and I found our usual spot in the back corner (because I still have hair and therefore still considered a “newby”).  We get comfy and he covers me with one of my “special” blankets that have been either made or bought with love and given to me just for this purpose.  I think of the person who gave me the blanket and am again reminded of just how lucky I am to have such wonderful people in my life.

The nurse comes, finds my port, and then it all begins.  Chad and I have nearly four hours to ourselves to just talk, hold hands, make fun of each other, see who can take the worst picture of each other and then eventually Darth Vader enters the scene.  You see, it doesn’t take long before Chad is out like a light and I get to listen to him snore, which is hauntingly similar to the sound that Darth Vader makes when breathing!!  One of these days I’m going to have him checked out.  I don’t mind that he drifts off, he’s funny to look at while sleeping, but more than that, I’m enjoying a closer relationship with the one who’s making this journey with me, sitting beside me in the next chemo chair.   As he gets his beauty sleep, I want try to nap myself, but unfortunately I’m been unable to relax enough to make that happen.

I try desperately to get comfortable in my “Lazy Boy” recliner and end up starring for hours at these two feet that have carried me through the 36 years of my life.  So many miles these two feet and 10 toes have put on, very fun miles.  My mind wondered back to my high school years.  I save cards during the week from my high school friends and then read them and their words of encouragement during my treatments.  They make me laugh, they make me cry and they make me thing of the crazy times I’ve shared with people.  They often bring up funny memories they’ve had with me and my gosh…..there have been a lot of them.  Chad and I have often joked about our life together and we could probably write quite a comical book together of all we’ve been through.  It’s a good thing I will be the one who will be bald because if you look closely at Chad’s face/head, you will see several “love marks” or most would call them scars.  Those are all marks that are as a result of him running through the dark field outside my house.  He would always come to my window at night and we would chat and hold fingers, not hands,  through a torn part of the screen.  We just wanted to be touching and fingers were always safe.  haha   My parents always seemed to come home earlier than they would tell us, or maybe that was really the plan, cause Chad would have to bail and take off running through the bushes.   My father had instilled “fear” in Chad and when he would take off running there was no turning back, which resulted in him running head on into a few trees and even a barb-wired fence a time or two during our dating years.  LOL  In reality, his head looks as if he had been to war and back, but then again…..if you know my father it’s sort of the same thing!  (Love you dad!)

If I’m not looking down, then I”m looking up at this beautiful piece of art work.  This is the source of my inability to relax and take a cat nap.  I sit and watch drip by drip this deadly poison run down the tubes and straight into my chest…..drip, drip, drip.  At first I taste the salty saline solution, then the headache hits, followed by the yummy taste of metal.  I promise I don’t have a nail, screw, or a piece of money in my mouth to cause this taste.  You haven’t seen me on the show “My Strange Addictions” either.  However, I highly recommend you watch an episode or two.  I don’t qualify as that kind of crazy yet!  As I lay there, I just have to keep reminding myself that although this is some of the deadliest crap I will ever put in my body, I know I need it to save my life.  My feet have so many more miles left to give on his earth and I know my kids need and want my feet around to give them a good kick in the butt (okay love tap) when they’re out of line.  I look forward to being able to special order shoes that have an 3-inch thick soles on them and only come in black and brown.  I will top off those stylish shoes with nylons rolled into a doughnut worn just above the ankle.

Before you know it, I look at the clock, realize I didn’t get any beauty rest, Darth Vader is still breathing, I don’t have any Thank You cards written, I didn’t update the blog, but I reassured myself of one very big To-Do on my list this day and every day moving forward.  It’s as simple as this…..”Don’t wrestle, just nestle”.  God gather’s us under His wings as a hen gathers her chicks for protection and rest.  My part is to just rest in the loving arms of God and nestle.  I felt his loving arms around me holding me tight the day I walked into that doctor’s office and he hasn’t let me go since.  It’s a feeling I wish you all could feel, yet wouldn’t wish this upon any of you either.  People will often say, “I’m so sorry”.  It’s awkward for me and I say back, it’s okay……..well gosh darnit, the situation is NOT okay by a long shot…………but do want you to know THAT I AM OKAY because He gives us no more than He give us the strength to bear.  I just wish He didn’t have so much confidence in me!!

Miracles Occur in Heaven, Not In The Stylist Chair!

Written by Ash on . Posted in News

So, I knew the “Hair” day was fast approaching.  Isn’t it funny that we can handle the diagnosis of Cancer, but the thought of losing your hair is almost too much to bear!!  After my first chemo treatment the nurse said I had approximately 12 days before my hair would give way.  I asked why so quickly, I figured I would have at least three weeks or so to prepare.  She said the docs were not messing around with your disease and were attaching it pretty aggressively and heavily that my hair would have no fighting chance to stay any longer.  

It was almost immediately after my first treatment that I began to notice a difference in my hair.  It just felt like the life had been sucked right out of it.  Kind of the way I felt when Dr. Winch let me know what I was dealing with.  It was as if my hair just didn’t want to do anything anymore.   If I didn’t know better I would say that my hair started acting like it was depressed or something.  I even tried a better shampoo trying to perk it up a little, but to no avail.

As I counted down the days and as more and more hair began to fall out, I decided to at least cut it shorter than it was.  In my mind I thought a pixy-type cut, but when it came right down to it, I just couldn’t go that short…not yet anyway.    Baby steps, right? 

So, this is the end result after my hair dresser, Amanda, took her tools to it.  The title for my post was taken from her mirror and I thought it was quite fitting for the situation I’m in.  Miracles Occur in Heaven, Not In The Stylist Chair.  Amen to that people!

Honestly, I was kind of bummed that I didn’t cut it sooner.  I’m giving some kind of weird smile here, but overall I quite liked the look and was sad that it would only last a few days.  The best part of the whole day was that I got the thumbs up from my little family, all of whom are not afraid to tell you what they really think!


Written by Ash on . Posted in News

Dash n’ Cash for Ash

My Hometown, Grantsville

Saturday, February 4th 2012

Can I just start off by saying what an awesome week we’ve had!  I continue to stand in awe at the generosity and thoughtfulness of people.  You know it’s a good day when you can go to the mail each day and actually have more cards from people wishing me well, than medical bills!! Chad and I were both raised in a small hometown called Granstville, Home of the Grantsville Cowboys.  Being from a small town can have both advantages and disadvantages.  This past weekend, I witnessed a very big advantage of what being a “part” of a hometown really means. To me it means rallying around one of your own for whatever cause and doing it 100%.

We have two very special people in our lives.  Chad’s Aunt Kathy and Kenna.  These two ladies are nothing short of AMAZING!  They decided they wanted do a fundraising event on my behalf and in less than a week, Dash n’ Cash for Ash was born. 

Not living close to us where they felt they could be hands on, they knew this was a way where they and our extended family to get involved and help.  They sent out a call for help and the people who live in Grantsville responded to that call.  A small idea from two ladies spiraled into an event that I will never forget.  As I watched this past week unfold and saw how many people and businesses were jumping on board to help…..not just for the girl in the picture, but also simply for the cause; I prayed I would feel good enough to make the trip up north to be a part of something so neat. Saturday morning came and as I laid in bed with my eyes wide open, I said to Chad……it’s gunna be a GREAT day babe.  Let’s load the kids up and go. 

As usual, Chad sped and as usual, Chad got pulled over in Enoch.  I honestly think he should get a street named in his honor, after all we have contributed to this fine city enough in fees to most likely purchase our own street.  lol  It’s now just a part of our routine, like stopping and getting gas and potty breaks.  A trip home just wouldn’t be complete without a nice chat from a member of Iron County’s “Elite” Police Academy.  If you know Chad, he has the worst luck of anybody when it comes to speeding tickets.  Well, remember I said that morning it was gunna be a good day, right?  Well, it still was……….Chad was given a warning.  I promise, you read that right, a WARNING…the first warning offered to him in his entire existence upon this earth.  He has never gotten off of a ticket and there was no pleading involved this time.  The guy was just a nice guy that was feeling a little giving I guess.  For this reason, Officer Richards gets a shout out from me on my blog!!  Woot Woot! 

We continued on our way and finally made it to Grantsville.  We got out of the car, Chad took my hand and our kids gathered around us.  We began walking down the parking lot, rounded the corner and what I saw and experienced next will truely be one of the best days of my life!  It was surreal.  I kept looking around at all the people and for a brief moment wondered if I had just won American Idol or something.  I just had no idea how many people cared about a girl…….a girl who moved away after graduating from high school way back in 1993.  They came for ME…. 

Little boys dropped baggies full of their coins in the donation box that had initially been saved for toys.  When asked if they were sure this was what they wanted to do, the reply was simple…..”Mommy, your friend needs it more than the Legoman.”  The unselfish love that I witnessed will forever be a part of my heart.  It’s times like these, knowing you have so many people praying for you and standing behind you to hold you up and you can’t stand on your own, that gives you the energy to keep fighting when you feel like you just can’t anymore.  I LOVE Grantsville…the town and the people who live there.  Just how cool was February 4th?  There is no better word than simply AMAZING! 

Kenna and Kathy, you are the absolute best!  You have always taken Chad under your wings and showed him unconditional love throughout his life.  I’m so blessed to be on the receiving end of that love you show to him.  Thank you for giving of yourself and putting this fundraiser together.  You taught my children what the word “‘Compassion” means, which will have a rippling effect in their lives.  To the rest of my family and friends who also pitched in to help, I love each and every one of you and thank you from the bottom of my heart.  It seems a little weird to say the word lucky and my name in the same sentence, but I want you to know…..I am seriously one LUCKY girl!  Thank you!

Why Not…Me?

Written by Ash on . Posted in News

I’ve almost hit the week mark since my first Chemo treatment last Friday.  Hanging in there so far coping with the ups and downs that such poison brings.   My mind has been going in so many directions with so many thoughts that at times I drive myself crazy.  It’s gotta be only natural to have that pity thought come through ones mind when trials come up in life that are almost unfathomable.

Why me? Why now? What did I do to deserve this?

I’m going to be honest with you here and say I haven’t had those thoughts exactly, but I have said……

I’m 36, what the crap!  I am healthy, absolutely no risk factors, no direct family history!  Are you serious?

I have ran scenerios over and over in my mind and all I can come up with is not Why Me, but rather Why Not Me?   I’ve expressed to Chad before this whole process began that I don’t think I could stand to watch either of my parents become ill, for whatever reason, I just couldn’t.  It would drive me nuts living so far away and feeling helpless in their caretaking.  I also know that as you become older it is a tad bit harder to fight off such horrible diseases, its just the facts.   My parents are such a HUGE part of my life and I just couldn’t handle seeing them go through something like this.

My thoughts then think of my babies…….Kaeson, Kaige, Ky, Kash and Kambree.  I learned real quick as I worked at Primary Children’s, then becoming a mother myself, how heartbreaking it is to see a child suffer…..make that child your own and it’s a whole new ballgame.  I would give up my own life, do whatever it took if it meant I could take away the pain from one of my kids.  To be helpless is just pure torture to say the least.

I then think of my best friend and partner in life, Chad

He is the rock that holds this family together, the best father to our children, as well as a father figure to many other youth here in St. George.  My kids would be lost without him and quite frankly, so would I.  We have spent more than half of our lives together thus far.  When you have a best friend in life, you do everything and anything to protect them from harm or sorrow.  That’s what friends are for, right?  So, whose left……ME!  If you know anything about me, I’m not a quiet chick by any means, except in church when it is required.  I can be feisty if needed, will speak what’s on my mind and won’t hesitate to fight for something that rights, or something I want or feel is deserved.  I want desperately and deserve to be HERE with those I love……I want to pay my outrageous Direct TV bill every month, I want to do the laundry (wink, wink), I want to go to my kids SEP’s, I want to go to the dentist, I want to race with the crowds on Black Friday, even if I’m not going after anything at all.  I enjoy running with the crazy bulls and playing crash cart derby!!  I want to hang out with my friends, I want to be Chad’s Sunshine and by George, I want to raise the children that I worked so hard to get here.  If Cancer had to infect somebody in my family, well you see… picked EXACTLY the right person.  I am a “young” woman, 36 years of age and I won’t give up my life, my man, nor my family without a FIGHT.  Give me the Hulk Gloves people…this fight will be so worthy of a pay-per-view slot, right along with the MMA Cage fights!

I cannot end here without letting all of you know just how much your messages, text messages, cards, gifts, and hugs have meant to me the past few weeks.  I have read and re-read all the messages.  I’m not able to reply to everyone, but want you to know I have received them and am forever grateful for the words of encouragement and offers of help for myself and my family.  I have some pretty neat people in my life and that’s just what makes my life so worth fighting for. 

I love you all so much!

P.S.  Happy Thought of the Day:  My “new-do” arrived.  Couldn’t come to terms with picking it up yet, but at least its here.  I get to keep my own hair for about another week if I’m lucky!


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